Beyond the Roman amphitheatre, down the (mostly car-free) Via Fillungo, you arrive before the handsome carved door of this lovely hotel. An inner courtyard edged by palazzo walls takes you to the reception on the first floor and lovely Marta, with her warm heart and winning smile. From the second you arrive, you feel cared-for and serene. Bedrooms are soothing, traditional, very comfortable, with air con, safe and frigobar; two are closely connected, perfect for a family, and the quietest are on the side. Find new mattresses, laundered linen and bedheads upholstered in stripes, scenes of Lucca on the walls and a few choice antiques. Bathrooms may not be up-to-the-minute but they’re fabulous, and you can splash out extra for one with a jacuzzi. The breakfast buffet sets you up for the day – cakes, pancakes, great coffee and local cheeses with honey – and the coast is 30 minutes away; so are Pisa and the Apuan Alps. As for Lucca, it needs no introduction. Marvel at the graceful Cathedral of St Martin, visit the birthplace of Puccini, or hire a bike and join the locals – on the top of the tree-lined city walls.